Apple Donates MacPaint to Computer History Museum

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The source code for MacPaint, the drawing program with a graphic user interface that shipped with the first Mac in 1984, is going on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California on Tuesday. Apple donated the code, along with the code for QuickDraw, to the museum for academic and historic research.

Apple’s MacPaint has been called one of the most important applications ever written, and QuickDraw made up the foundation of the Mac’s graphic capabilities.

The Computer History Museum’s description of MacPaint:

MacPaint is the drawing program application which interacts with the user, interprets mouse and keyboard requests, and decides what is to be drawn where. The high-level logic is written in Apple Pascal, packaged in a single file with 5,822 lines. There are an additional 3,583 lines of code in assembler language for the underlying Motorola 68000 microprocessor, which implement routines needing high performance and some interfaces to the operating system.

The code for QuickDraw stretches out for 17,101 lines across 36 files and was written in assembler language for the 68000 processor.

Bill Atkinson was instrumental in bringing both MacPaint and QuickDraw to life and played an important role in making the code for both applications available for display at the museum.

[Thanks to BusinessWeek for the heads up.]

Comments

geoduck

So MacPaint was done with ~9500 lines of code.
We’ve come a long way.
I think the latest MS Office has a EULA longer than that
smile

Lee Dronick

I still have my copy in a box of 3.5 floppies

geoduck

Does anyone remember LightningPaint? I ended up using that a lot more than MacPaint as it had more features. Star, Spiral, and such. LightningPaint and the Mac Classic kept me busy for a couple of years.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

What amazes me is how Mr. Atkinson used a high level language for program logic and a low level language for the stuff that had to run fast. What a great engineering insight that still works as well today. That is, unless you’re writing software for the iPhone. Seems Apple forgot some of the fundamental engineering principles that got it here.

cb50dc

Simply cool, way cool.

computerbandgeek

Every day I lament the loss of MacPaint. Ok, well not every day. But my dad just switched to the mac yesterday and was flabbergasted to find out that there is no paint program that comes with the OS, and I agree with him.

Lee Dronick

Every day I lament the loss of MacPaint. Ok, well not every day. But my dad just switched to the mac yesterday and was flabbergasted to find out that there is no paint program that comes with the OS, and I agree with him.

It would be nice to have a simple paint and draw program that would boot up quickly. Kind of like a TextEdit for graphics. I would think that that there are programs out there that would fill the bill.

computerbandgeek

Personally, I like Paintbrush.app. It is basically the same as MSPaint, it’s just annoying that I have to go and download it on every new mac instead of having something like it preinstalled.

OldGuy

I remember Atkinson explaining in an interview or BMUG meeting (circa ‘84 or ‘85) how tight the memory allocation was to get MacPaint to work on an original (128K) Macintosh. MacPaint wrote temp files to the floppy so that it could create a whole page “painting” with only the portion in the MacPaint window actually in RAM. Ran quite a bit nicer in ‘85 and later when the 512K and then the Macintosh Plus came out, then there was enough RAM to skip (at least most of the time) the temp files on floopy.

It is hard to explain how cool MacPaint was. It was the best way to teach someone what a computer mouse was all about.

I later used SuperPaint, and other paint programs, but few were as intuitive, easy, and fun as that first encounter with MacPaint.

I agree that it is painful that the Mac no longer includes a basic paint program. I had to fire up Appleworks just the other day to create a simple jpeg for a web page.

Fred Lanam

I still have my first Mac. I’m thinking about turning it into a bird house.

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